The subtitle, The Hard and the Strong, completes a title that fits in well with the opening press release quote from Mojo magazine that Julian Fauth ‘practically redefines eclectic’. Aside from a couple of originals, Fauth embarks on a journey through Anglo-American folk & blues standards re-imagined as only he can. “Tricks Ain’t Walkin’”, “Casey Jones”, “John Henry”, “Frankie & Johnny” and “Betty & Dupree” are among the better known ones, with “Charley James”, “Cole Younger” and “Rounder” further examples of his extensive research. Fauth’s singing is the best I’ve heard from him and his piano work simply superb. His stomping foot is occasionally augmented by various percussive effects courtesy of co-producer Alec Fraser and other players you’ll hear include Ken Yoshioka on harmonica, Donné Roberts on guitar and Tim Hamel on trumpet. Fauth helpfully provides notes for each of the songs and I particularly liked “John Henry”, with Roberts & Yoshioka – Fauth chose some lesser-known verses that have John Henry’s daughters carrying on after his death. “Tricks Ain’t Walkin’” and “Casey Jones” (with Hamel on trumpet) are also very good. Along with the imaginitive arrangements of these songs, there are four new ones: “So Far Down”, about someone in his own past; “Nightmare”, “Dan”, an older song about a friend going to war in Afghanistan and “Bad John” by Russell Sleaper, a song exploring the root of that expression in a folk character from the Caribbean – it may not be an old folk song butt it fits right in here and is another highlight. “So Far Down” is an important song for Fauth, generating, I think, both the album title and its eye-catching cover art, a complicated character indeed. The program concludes with “House Carpenter”, the old English folk song and a rather different version of “Blowin’ In The Wind”, by someone who has done even more research into the folk tradition, Bob Dylan. Eclectic for sure and well worth the time spent! This CD began life as a live CIUT-FM broadcast last summer, I hope you were able to hear that. Julian performs regularly about town check out www.julianfauth.com for details. It will be out September 17th.

John's Blues Pick September 2017 - Daniel Cross
John's Blues Picks September 2017 - Sunday Wilde & Reno Jack